Business Leaders Discuss Alternatives To Property Taxes

Thomas P. Morahan

February 16, 2007

Senator Thomas P. Morahan recently held his third summit meetingon reformingthe way education isfunded in New York. This forum on property tax reformbrought together business leaders from Rockland and Orange Counties.

"I have asked the business community to step up to the plate to propose somefiscally soundand equitable tax plans for funding public education. I value their input, and hope to make use of their suggestions soI can develop legislation to ensure our schools are funded ina better and fairer way," said the Senator.

the participants brainstormed and debatedideas including a suggestion to place land that is owned by nonprofit organizations, including religious groups, back on school property-tax rolls. A popular idea wasthe use of private donations as an additional sources ofschool funding. Governance issues were placed on the table, including consolidation of school districts.

The lower Hudson Valley business leaders also heard a presentation from Irving Feiner, a Rockland Countycommunity activist who offered data which he felt warranted the application of a flat, statewide income surtax. Many of the participants were members of the Rockland Business Association, including Hector May, who serves as RBA Chairman.

Senator Morahan asked the group to put together a report with its recommendations by the end of March.

The report will be combined with input from other participatinggroups, including Rockland County school board members, superintendents and teachers' unions and parents to develop legislation.